On the Road, Again by Chuck Horowitz

Toshiba has developed new technology for the lithium-ion battery. They claim that their new battery will recharge to 80% of capacity in one minute. That’s right, in one minute. That’s 60 times faster than other lithium-ion batteries currently in use. The new battery uses the latest nano-material technology. Toshiba will market the battery some time this year. Unfortunately, it will be marketed in the automotive and industrial products markets for now. I’ll give them two or three minutes to charge it up to 100% of capacity, if they’ll put it in my notebook.
Hewlett Packard (www.hp.com) of Palo Alto, CA has the HP Compaq nc6140 notebook. This notebook operates on Verizon Wireless’ Evolution Data Optimized (EV-DO) network. This gives users the ability to connect at broadband speed to networks, e-mail, the Internet, etc. while on the road. The nc1640 has integrated dual antennas and pre-installed software to help establish a wireless connection. Also included in the nc1640 are enhanced security features, such as HP Protect Tools Security Manager, which allows you to manage security systems using customizable security layers. The nc1640 has HP Drivelock hard drive protection. It weighs six (6) pounds (with a 15-inch wide-angle display). No price is quoted as yet. Check out their web site for more details. They may have a price posted by now.
Here’s an interesting product from FingerGear (www.fingergear.com) of Mountain View, CA. Their Computer-on-a-Stick (COS) is a bootable USB device that lets you transform any notebook (or PC) into a near desktop environment, without installing any software. The COS has Mozilla’s FireFox Browser, an e-mail client, the OpenOffice Suite, integrated PDF Creator, ZIP Compression tools, cross-compatible instant messaging, and lots more. It has a write=protected operating system and default 256-bit AES encryption. Boot up takes less than ten (10) seconds; and shut down takes only three (3) seconds according to FingerGear. I wonder if this device can make my PDA into a notebook.
Anonymizer, Inc. (www.anonymizer.com) of San Diego, CA and SanDisk (www.sandisk.com) of Sunnyvale, CA report that Anonymizer’s Anonymous Surfing is now available for SanDisk’s Cruzer Micro and Cruzer Titanium USB flash drives using U3 technology. Their software package protects the users identity when surfing the Internet, and insures secure browsing on any computer. It also protects the user from online security threats, such as pharming and phishing scams attacks. U3 is a new platform for smart drives that “provides a private, secure and protected experience on any Microsoft Windows XP or 2000 PCs.” The drives are able to launch a variety of U3-compatible, or “U3 Smart,” software programs, including the first U3 Smart identity protection system Anonymizer Anonymous Surfing.
Go back and check out the December issue of Computer Shopper for an article edited by Edward N. Albro entitled “Solid $500 Laptops.” He covers notebooks by Acer, Dell, and HP Compaq. Take note though, his under $500 price is with a rebate. His evaluation has Acer on top because this machine “is faster, it has more memory, a larger hard drive and a screen that is bigger than one of the others and the same size as the other. Without the rebate, the Acer would be $71 more expensive than one of the machines and $100 more expensive than the other. As it is, with the rebate it’s the same price as the Dell and less than the HP /Compaq. The HP Compaq is $529 with the rebate and is the one with the same screen size.
Take a look at the eNook Wall-Mounted Charging Workstation at www.anthro.com/eNook. They say “it charges, it stores and it fits where you don’t have a lot of room.” You mount it on a wall and you flip it up to store your notebook and other gadgets. When it’s down, it’s a desk. You can choose a color and fabric combination to match your room. You can also contact Anthro at 800-325-3841.
The February issue of Computer Shopper has a review of the Lenovo ThinkPad X41 ($2,199); the Acer TravelMate 3000 ($1,299); the Fujitsu LifeBook T4020 ($2,149); the WinBook X512 ($998); and the Dell Inspiron 710m ($1,786). Features vary on these machines (they’re usually not equal in any of the reviewed machines). They evaluated the ThinkPad X41 best. Their logic was that the X41 is “lightweight, it offers fair performance and has excellent battery life.”
Chuck Horowitz, a HAL-PC member, can be reached at chuckh@hal-pc.org for questions or comments.